Health and Wellbeing

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus is a type of virus that causes diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory disease.

The CDC reports that patients with this novel (new) coronavirus have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe illness is more common in people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems, as well as older adults. 

COVID-19 Testing

Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) is working with San Luis Obispo County Public Health for appropriate testing for COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) and direction for patient care, quarantine or isolation, should it be indicated. CHW will collect specimens to be sent to an off-site laboratory, as indicated. Specimen collection for COVID-19 is performed by swabbing nasal cavities. Testing is performed through the county public health and private laboratories.

Testing Criteria

Clinical criteria for COVID-19 testing include:

  • Patients with fever (T > 100.4 F) and symptoms (cough and/or shortness of breath and/or fatigue)
  • History of sick contact consistent with COVID-19 signs and symptoms
  • Incubation period consistent with COVID-19 (typically 5-7 days)
  • Hospitalized patients in whom other likely diagnoses have been ruled out (e.g., Respiratory Pathogen Panel is negative)
  • Nature of disease onset – COVID-19 typically has prodrome vs. flu, which has rapid onset
  • Chest X-ray with bilateral infiltrates/ground-glass opacities
  • History of international travel or travel to locale in US with community transmission
  • No alternative diagnosis 

See county public health’s provider health advisory on in-patient testing for COVID-19 testing for additional information.

When to get help

If you have a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath:

  • Stay home from school/work if you are having symptoms
  • Wash your hands and stay well hydrated/drinking fluids
  • Cover your cough, and avoid close contact with others

Call your healthcare provider to make an appointment.

  • Students: please schedule an appointment by going online via the portal,, or calling Campus Health and Wellbeing at 805-756-1211.
  • Faculty and Staff: please contact your personal medical provider.

Mental Health Resources

We are here to support you. Cal Poly students can contact Cal Poly’s Counseling Services and 24/7 hotline at 805-756-2511.

Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling services (available to employees and their families) at 800-367-7474, or visit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens after a campus community member tests positive for COVID-19?

When learning of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department conducts a detailed contact investigation, focusing on individuals with whom the patient has had close contact. When a member of Cal Poly’s campus community tests positive, county public health will contact anyone (including other campus community members) identified to have been in close contact with the individual. Cal Poly will assist public health in the investigation as appropriate.

Can Cal Poly release more information about any confirmed cases of campus community members?

The university can only release limited information about individual community members who test positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19 — due to general privacy concerns and those specific to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Wouldn’t releasing more information about positively diagnosed individuals help to let others know they might have been exposed?

The university is sensitive to the concerns of all community members but must balance these with the privacy rights of individual community members.

To reiterate, county public health officials conduct detailed contact investigations for all patients who test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. Anyone who has been identified as having significant risk of exposure in a specific case will be contacted and alerted by county health officials. If, through information gleaned from the contact investigation, potentially exposed persons include a broader group without the possibility of having a complete list of individuals, such as class attendees, that type of information will also be shared.

What do I do if I think I have, or someone close to me has, coronavirus? 

Any student who believes they may be exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus is asked to call the university’s Health Center for further instruction. Students are asked to visit the Health Center and not go directly to the emergency room.

Employees should call ahead before visiting their doctor. If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have coronavirus. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Stay home except to get medical care and separate yourself from other people and pets in your home. Wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

Other tips to keep you healthy include:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean your hands often
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening
  • Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, coronavirus
  • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for coronavirus. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive


I’m immunocompromised, how can I protect myself on campus? 

The safety and wellbeing of our campus community is important to us. If you are considered at a higher risk due to being immunecompromised, refer to your medical provider to ensure the appropriate protection from illness. Your medical provider knows the most about your specific medical historyThey are best suited to determine your specific needs and provide additional recommendations to maintain your personal safety. 

Other tips from the CDC to keep high risk individuals healthy include: 

  • Stock up on supplies, including medications.  
  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications. 
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications. 
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from coronavirus at home. 
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others. 
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often. 
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible. 
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel. 
  • During a coronavirus outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.


Who is most at risk of getting sick? 

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. (Source: 

Should I wear a mask? What type of mask would be helpful? 

A facemask should be used by people who have coronavirus or are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from being exposed to the virus. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus. The use of facemasks is recommended for health workers and those caring for someone infected with coronavirus in close settings. (Source:

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus? 

There is currently no vaccine to protect against coronavirus. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often. (Source:

Who can I speak with if the situation makes me feel stressed or overwhelmed? 

We are here to support you.

Cal Poly students can contact Cal Poly’s Counseling Services and 24/7 hotline at 805-756-2511.

Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling services (available to employees and their families) at 800-367-7474, or visit Employee Resources

What is the best way to protect myself against coronavirus? 

The best way to protect yourself against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently especially before eating, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. In addition: 

Treat yourself well.

  • Eat healthy.
  • Maintain good sleep habits.
  • Manage stress.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Make it hard for viruses to spread.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • Influenza is still present in ourcommunity. Please check with your healthcare provider whether obtaining the influenza vaccine is advisable for you.  

Think of yourself and others.

  • Students, if you feel ill,please contactCampus Health and Wellbeing to schedule an appointmentbygoing online via the portal,, or calling 805-756-1211.
  • For faculty and staff, please contactyourpersonalmedicalprovider.
  • Stay homefrom school, office hours and work, andreduce contact with others until your symptoms subside.

Is it still safe for me to live on campus/come to work on campus?

Yes. We continue to work closely with health officials, including County Public Health, to maintain the wellbeing of our campus community. We ask all members of our campus community to closely follow all state and county shelter-at-home orders, and take preventative measures to stay healthy.

What preventative measures should I take to stay healthy?

In addition to strictly following the stay-in-home orders, prevention continues to be key in fighting the spread of the virus. Social distancing and thorough hand-washing with soap and water are among the very best ways to protect against viral infections. 

What safe, healthy activities can I do at this time?

Outside activities such as walking, hiking and biking are acceptable as long as you maintain appropriate social distancing of at least 6 feet from others. However, you are asked to stay home and not travel through the community unless it is absolutely essential. This is critical to help minimize the spread of this virus. Please also remember that many in our community may be more susceptible to contracting and suffering more severe cases of COVID-19. These vulnerable populations rely on all of us to be responsible and do our part to minimize this disease.

Public Health Resources 

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